For years, I’ve dreamed of having an Emergency Pizza Button that will automatically order a pizza for me with a single tap. I’m not the only one with this dream. There have been countless innovations in pizza ordering technology in recent years…but they’ve all been from Domino’s. Which sucks, because they have the worst pizza. Why can’t other pizza companies catch up?
Ordering pizza is a time-honored tradition among college students and tired parents everywhere. To keep up with today’s fast-paced hungry people, pizza chains like Domino’s, Papa John’s, and Pizza Hut have added convenient features like online ordering and progress tracking so you can order your pizza quickly and know exactly when it’s going to get to your house. The latter two chains, unfortunately, have stopped there.
Pictured: pizza, allegedly.
Domino’s, on the other hand, decided years ago that the best way to compete isn’t by making better pizza (contrary to their claims, but we’ll come back to that). Instead, they’ve been leading the industry in innovative new ways to order pizza. Thanks in part to an unofficial API, and Domino’s own tech, here are some of the myriad ways you can order a Domino’s pizza:
- The Unofficial PiePal Emergency Pizza Button: This device, made by marketing company ISL (though Domino’s was not their client and didn’t commission the project) uses a 3D printed button and dial rig, connected to a Raspberry Pi that plugs into the Domino’s API to order pizza immediately with the push of a button.
- The Official Domino’s Emergency Pizza Button: Not content to be outdone, Domino’s introduced their own pizza button. Just set up your favorite pizza on your Domino’s profile and this little button can send it to you without a second thought.
- Domino’s Official IFTTT Channel: You can use automation tool IFTTT to send your photos to Instagram, turn on your TV when you get home, and apparently track your pizza order. Want to make your smart lights change color or send a message to your Slack team when pizza is on the way? For some reason, you can!
- Domino’s Alexa and Google Home Voice Apps: If you have one of these voice assistants in your home, you can order a pizza just by talking to yourself in the living room! Amazingly, Pizza Hut has managed to jump into this game with its own (less functional) Alexa skill, but if you’re a Google Home user, you better get used to Domino’s pizza. Or ordering with a phone.
- Domino’s Facebook Messenger Bot: Facebook’s messenger bots may not have caught on as much as the company would like, but if you’re one of the few people using them, you can order Domino’s pizza with one, too! Just message your order to the Domino’s bot and your pizza will be delivered shortly.
- The Zero-Click Domino’s App: The ultimate in pizza laziness, this app for Android and iOS exists for one purpose: open the app and it will order your favorite pizza for you. To make sure you don’t order pocket pizza, it will wait ten seconds before placing the order. It’s like an emergency pizza button, but for your phone.
That’s just some of the many ways you can order Domino’s pizza. You can also order via text, tweet, Samsung TVs, Ford cars, and friggin’ smart watches. Domino’s has cornered the market on modern, innovative ways to order pizza. Other chains like Pizza Hut or Papa John’s might have one or two of these, but none of them cover even half these bases. And this would be awesome, except for one glaring problem.
Domino’s pizza sucks.
Don’t just take my word for it. The above is an ad from late 2009 wherein Domino’s spends the bulk of a four minute, twenty second ad talking about how awful their pizza used to be. Of course, the pitch here is that they’re changing their recipe (and to be fair, they did make some dramatic changes since then), but even the company itself knows that people just didn’t like their pizza.
In the interest of fairness, I ordered a medium pepperoni pizza and cheese sticks to see if this promise of better pizza was really legit. The results were…not very good. Domino’s crust has indeed been upgraded from dry cardboard to soggy cardboard. The cheese blend tasted more of ricotta than any other cheese, which leaves your mouth tasting like creamy glue. Overall, the pizza tasted like an evenly cooked Hot Pocket at the best of times.
The sauce cup on my cheese sticks left a noticeable depression that matched my own after eating them.
For roughly $20 after delivery charge and tip (hey, it’s not the driver’s fault my body physically rejected its first bite of pizza), it’s a tall order to stomach such sub-par pizza. Perhaps you can make the argument that good pizza is a matter of taste—and plenty of people I talked to while researching this article made sure to do just that—but even fans of Domino’s have a hard time arguing that its pizza is the best pizza around.
Despite what we can generously call a polarizing taste palette, Domino’s is still the #2 best selling pizza chain. Even in its most tumultuous times, Domino’s has nipped at Pizza Hut’s heels as the biggest pizza chain in the U.S.. Between 2014 and 2015, Domino’s sales grew by over 14%, while Pizza Hut’s grew by a measly 0.18%. Effectively a stand still.
Whatever you think of how Domino’s pizza tastes, Domino’s has still achieved something great: it’s incredibly easy to order it. The easier it is to order something, the more likely people are going to buy it. Yet most pizza chains that aren’t Domino’s are leaving most ordering opportunities on the table. Sure, you don’t need to build an ordering system for every smart watch in existence, but a functional Alexa bot or even a Dash button-like gadget would make it slightly easier to order a Pizza Hut or Papa John’s pizza. And erasing that small moment of doubt can be the difference between getting an order, or your customer deciding they don’t want to regret what they ate tomorrow. Even Domino’s itself acknowledges that people buy more pizza when it’s easier. (Not to mention all these silly gadgets act as marketing tools, too.)
So please, other pizza chains, make your way into the future. Make it easier for people to give you money. Otherwise, we’ll have to start leaving our houses and going to local, brick oven pizza joints where they make food that isn’t mass produced and tastes way better than anything the big chains can offer. And no one wants that, now do we?